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I ran across this the other day. It doesn’t seem to be a new idea, so I’m wondering if any of you tried it, and how it worked?
 

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I ran across this the other day. It doesn’t seem to be a new idea, so I’m wondering if any of you tried it, and how it worked?
I haven't tried them but know several farmers who use tillage radishes as part of a cover crop mix. The only issues besides price seem to be they need to go in relatively early in our area so they are better behind corn than soybeans and they aren't very good in really wet soil.

I may try a few in a pasture where we've got compaction. The cows will likely just eat them down before they get big enough to do much unless I use a fenced off pasture.

Treefarmer
 

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I planed some last fall in one of my garden areas. We didn’t have any rain for over 7 weeks so they didn’t germinate until mid October. The cold weather killed them off during the winter. I’m going to try again this year.
 

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I have neighbors that use these as tillage radishes, however, I have not....yet. They plant them in the late summer/fall, and let them grow. The get pretty big. Over the winter most die and begin to decompose. In the spring they burn them down, till them up or both (that part I don't know exactly), and plant accordingly. Seems like a good cover crop.I have some ordered and will be delivered any day now. I plan on using them as in combination of spring oats this year as a summer cover crop. Oats will add some green manure for next year, and the tillage radishes will aid in compaction We'll see.

On a seperate note, I have eaten some of the radishes. The kind of taste mild, somewhat like beets. I see why the asian countries shred and pickle them. I might do that as well this year, as they are easier to pickle than cucumbers (don't get soggy).
 

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I the only time I have seen them used here was about 8 years ago, we had 18 inches of snow in May!!!!! about half of the crops never even got planted. The government paid out a bunch of money to try and make the farmers somewhat whole, and one of the requirements was that they had to plant a cover crop. Many put radishes in. 1000's of acres. In the fall when they started dying and rotting, they stunk to high heaven :LOL: The deer were sure happy!
 

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I'm as far from a farmer as one can be but I walk a lot of farmland chasing pheasants and quail. I have come across this radish cover crop a few times. If I understand the strategy, farmers use it as a cover crop when they were unable to plant their normal crop (corn or soybeans) due to wet soil too late into the season. They just let it go then till it in come spring. If they don't plant something too many weeds take root and it helps control erosion.

Does that sound right? More curious than anything. Rarely find pheasants in the stuff so I would rather see corn in the field but surprisingly, pheasants aren't the top priority for crop farmers.
 

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I'm as far from a farmer as one can be but I walk a lot of farmland chasing pheasants and quail. I have come across this radish cover crop a few times. If I understand the strategy, farmers use it as a cover crop when they were unable to plant their normal crop (corn or soybeans) due to wet soil too late into the season. They just let it go then till it in come spring. If they don't plant something too many weeds take root and it helps control erosion.

Does that sound right? More curious than anything.
That's 2 of the purposes. In addition to reducing soil erosion and weed control they also break up the ground (down as much as 4 feet) so water and nutrients get taken down below the surface and most radishes die after freeze and rot in the ground adding organic material and beneficial bacteria/fungi which end up enriching the soil.

Some farms have found that radishes break up the ground enough that they can do away with any deep tilling and can go to a low-till or no-till field prep in the spring.
 

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I the only time I have seen them used here was about 8 years ago, we had 18 inches of snow in May!!!!! about half of the crops never even got planted. The government paid out a bunch of money to try and make the farmers somewhat whole, and one of the requirements was that they had to plant a cover crop. Many put radishes in. 1000's of acres. In the fall when they started dying and rotting, they stunk to high heaven :LOL: The deer were sure happy!
When radishes (tillage radishes) first became popular my seed salesman friend got several complaints from the public (farmers neighbors) about smelling a persistent gas leak, yes they do smell.
 

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All makes sense to me now. Thanks for the information. I know the farmers where I hunt employ low till methods as much as possible so I can see how this works with that strategy. I did try eating one and thought it was edible. Their huge size would be quite a site in the local produce market compared to the little round radishes we see normally.
 

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I have put them in food plots to break up the soil before I had a disk. The deer dont touch them here, but we are some of the purple tops. Govt pays farmers here and they fly them on into standing corn alot.
 

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Oh yeah, the rotting! The smell is a problem when there are a lot of them.
 
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